JOHANNESBURG, MI- Getting to the state semi-finals in any sport does not come easy. Back in 1981 the Johannesburg-Lewiston Cardinals made the final four and one four decades would pass before it happened again.
After defeating Hancock 7-1 in Tuesday’s Quarterfinal, the Cardinals are on their way to East Lansing for the final four. Jayden Marlatt homered for the fourth time in four games. She also struck out 14 on the mound as the Cardinals dream run reaches the final destination.
At 30-3-1 on the season the Cardinals have dominated from jump. Doing so without playing a single home game. The devastation of previous playoff losses has provided the group the fuel to get to their ultimate goal of a state championship. Now just two more roadblocks stand in the way.
Mendon serves as the semi-final opponent. The Hornets come in at 35-5 and playing with house money. They trailed 12-8 going into the 7th inning of their Quarter-final. Down to their final out for three consecutive at bats and down to their final strike twice the Hornets scored five runs to stun Fowler and secure a semi-final spot. On the other hand it has been smooth sailing for the Cardinals. In five postseason games they have trailed just once. They fell behind 1-0 after two innings to Inland Lakes before winning 7-3.
Once you arrive win Lansing the previous 35-40 games go out the window. Four teams that are all championship caliber need to win two games. Two games for a state championship. The Cardinals and Hornets play at 12:30 Friday afternoon. The winner will move to the state championship on Saturday at 3 PM. Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart and Unionville-Sebewaing will square off in the first semi-final Friday morning.
This group of Cardinals have already made plenty of history this season. Now there is only one more trophy to win.